On-line game to virtually crucify players who break the rules: PR disaster or PR genius?

Press release put out by the MMPORPG Roma Victor is headlined: BRITAIN TO WITNESS FIRST CRUCIFIXION FOR ALMOST 2,000 YEARS. (Hmmm, I would have written in almost, but that’s just me.)

It then continues:

Ancient punishment is handed out for the all-too-modern crime of ganking (or gang-killing new players) as Roman-style justice returns to Britain for the first time in nearly 20 centuries.

Brighton, UK. Britain will witness its first crucifixion for almost two millennia later this week, when Cynewulf is nailed to a cross as punishment for ganking other players as they first appear. Cynewulf, (in real life a 27 year-old electrical engineer from Flint, Michigan, USA) has no need to worry about suffering any permanent pain to his hands or feet, however, as this barbaric sentence is due to be carried out in cyberspace; in the virtual world of Roma Victor®.

    Roma Victor is an online recreation of Britain in Roman times, where players live virtual lives as slaves and citizens of that all-conquering Empire. The world is currently in the final stages of testing and will officially launch on July 1st 2006, after which thousands of players will be able to live out their own virtual lives within ancient Roman-occupied Britannia.

Given that someone — at the very least the American Family Association — is bound to start screaming about this, they’re sure to get some ink. Given that the game doesn’t launch until July and needs all the ink it can get — I judge this incredibly offensive PR genius and wash my hands of the whole mess. Pass the pieces of silver, please…